Video: I Discuss the Future of the Marriage Fight on PBS; Vatican Emphasizes Our Resolve & the Need for Unity

Last night I was asked last-minute to appear on the PBS NewsHour to discuss the future of the fight to protect marriage and the need to renew our efforts in light of the elections:

Meanwhile, papal spokesman Fr. Lombardi, SJ issued a strong editorial on the subject entitled “Church Will Not Give Up Its Defense of Marriage“:

In the United States, some of the referendums held on the same day as the presidential elections in various States have, for the first time, delivered an outcome favourable to same-sex marriages. It is therefore clear that in western countries there is a widespread tendency to modify the classic vision of marriage between a man and woman, or rather to try to give it up, erasing its specific and privileged legal recognition compared to other forms of union.

It is nothing new. This we had already realised. Nevertheless, the matter does not cease to amaze: Because we should be asking if this really corresponds to the feelings of the people, and because the logic of it cannot have a far-sighted outlook for the common good. Not only the Catholic Church is saying this; it was pointed out clearly by the Chief Rabbi of France in a well-reasoned statement. It is not, in fact, a question of avoiding unfair discrimination for homosexuals, since this must and can be guaranteed in other ways. It is a question of admitting that a husband and a wife are publicly recognised as such; and that children who come into the world can know, and say they have, a father and a mother.

In short, preserving a vision of the human person and of human relationships where there is a public acknowledgement of monogamous marriage between a man and woman is an achievement of civilisation. If not, why not contemplate also freely chosen polygamy and, of course, not to discriminate, polyandry? It is not expected, then, the Church will give up proposing that society recognise a specific place for marriage between a man and a woman.

The Church’s role in the fight to protect marriage was also featured on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano this weekend (I’m trying to pull up the text).

Finally, it’s good to see that the papal nuncio to the United States Abp. Vigano is stressing the need for forging stronger Catholic unity to counteract the “intentional dividing of the Church” because, he said, a divided church “can be more easily persecuted”:

Archbishop Vigano observed that some influential Catholic public officials and university professors are allied with forces opposed to the Church’s fundamental moral teachings on “critical issues” like abortion, population control, the redefinition of marriage, embryonic stem cell research and “problematic adoptions.”

He said it is a “grave and major problem” when self-professed Catholic faculty at Catholic institutions are the sources of teachings that conflict with Church teaching on important policy issues rather than defend it. [CNA/EWTN News]

These three themes: renewal, resolve and unity, should frame our reflections and actions on the topics of marriage and the other critical challenges our country now faces.



  • Rex Equality Toltschin

    Heterosexuals are NOT superior human beings, many of you believe you are and you know nothing about those who are not. Your arrogance, in somehow believing your ‘life’ on our Shared Planet – is more deserving at the same time condemnation of others flows from your lips – never ceases to amaze. Believe what you wish, but we are all here to live our lives – and millions of us happen to have been born gay. Why? Who Cares. We just are and until you ‘are’ you have no idea how THE SAME – Being Human – we all are.

  • Papal Marriage Laws

    Thomas Peters makes my gaydar go off, and I’m not even gay. He should just go to a Madonna concert already.

    • Ray S.

      How unkind.

    • Charles

      According to some SSM supporters, the supporters of traditional marriage include a large number of gay people. This is, for some reason unclear to me, considered to be an argument in *favor* of SSM.

  • konservative1

    Please explain to me how the Affordable Care Act infringes on religious freedom?

    A- If a Church CHOOSES to employ people then that Church should follow the same rules as any business.

    B- A Church may claim that they are not like other businesses. If a
    church employs members of their particular faith then what is the
    worry? Their members would not use the objectionable birth control
    provisions anyway, right?

    • Charles

      That’s interesting, since the HHS regulation exempts church organizations which serve only the church’s own members. By your rationale, this exemption is wrong, since it allows churches to ignore the rules applicable to other businesses, and because employees should be trusted not to use birth control anyway.

      • konservative1

        No not by my logic. Most people who bring the issue do not understand there is an exemption. So that’s why I phrased it that way.

        • Charles

          So, what do you think of the exemption?

          • konservative1

            Charles, I think I understand the exemption but I am certainly not an expert. I guess the exemption was necessary. I am all for everyone, everyone enjoying the freedom of religion. What gets me worked up is the apparent hypocrisy of most religious institutions in the USA. For instance the relative silence on issues such as poverty, drone strikes / targeted assassinations and corporate greed. Especially if that relative silence is compared to the howling over the ACA and same sex couples rights.
            What say you?

          • Charles

            I acknowledge I am not aware of a lot of Church statements about drone strikes, but I may have missed them – several comments on war. There’s plenty of comments on poverty, which in this country generally means speaking out against federal budget cuts.

            But do you see my point about the limited exemption written into the HHS policy? It shows that even the HHS doesn’t rely on simplistic bureaucratic everyone-must-obey reasoning, but is capable of making exemptions for religious groups. The question is about the scope of the exemption. Try to serve someone outside your religion, and you lose the exemption. So much for Church soup kitchens, etc.

          • konservative1

            Ohhhh. OK well I may be wrong here but I do not think the example of soup kitchens would apply. Like I said I may be wrong. What I am thankful for is that we have a democratic process to remedy problems as they arise. It is a quite messy process prone to all kinds of disgusting problems but in the end it will get things sorted.

          • Charles

            I share at least some of that optimism, especially since the democratic process produced a Religious Freedom Restoration Act which supersedes any decree of the HHS. Under this Act, overriding the conscientious objection of an employer opposed to providing abortifacients, birth control and sterilization to employees requires a two-step process: (a) a compelling interest, and (b) no lesser method is available to protect that compelling interest.

            So far two federal courts have found that Catholic employers are likely to prevail over the HHS, thanks to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which was adopted by the democratic process. Hence my partial optimism.

  • PatrickM

    I support fully Mr. Peters in his defence of Church doctrine in these matters in the face of the rather septic comments of the anti-Catholics.



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